Update: The Air National Guard chose Joint Base Langley-Eustis for an Air Force Space Command Cyber Operations Squadron.
“We were very pleased to hear that the Air National Guard chose Joint Base Langley-Eustis for an Air Force Cyber Operations Squadron,” the Virginia delegation said. “Cybersecurity is one of the greatest challenges we face as a nation, and this mission will play a critical role in responding to threats and protecting the integrity of our networks and cyber systems. This decision is a testament to Virginia’s strong record in cyber capabilities, including top defense and technology companies, research institutions, and a highly skilled workforce. We are proud to host this critical mission.”
Washington. D.C. (WTKR) - A coalition of lawmakers from Virginia are once again pushing for Langley Air Force to become home to an Air Force Space Command Cyber Operations Squadron.
The letter, sent from a bi-partisan coalition of U.S. Senators and Congressmen, is the second the group has sent to Lt. General Stanley Clarke III, Director of the Air National Guard.
It urges the establishment of the command at Joint Base Langley-Eustis because of the current highly-skilled workforce as well as proximity to institutions that can provide a pipeline to recruit cyber personnel.
As many as four Cyber Operations Squadrons could be established.
A decision on locations is expected to be made this summer.
Full text of letter:
April 29, 2015
Lieutenant General Stanley E. Clarke III
Director, Air National Guard
1000 Air Force Pentagon, 5C1052
Washington, DC 20330-1000
Dear Lieutenant General Clarke,
We write today to reiterate our request that you strongly consider the Virginia Air National Guard at Joint Base Langley-Eustis (JBLE) for an Air Force Space Command Cyber Operations Squadron (COS). Last week, we learned that the Air Force realigned forces associated with the B-1 away from Air Combat Command at JBLE to place them with other long-range bombers under one command, at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. The Air Force made this decision to maximize its stewardship of a critical mission. For the same reason, we believe JBLE makes sense as a location for the Air National Guard’s critical cyber mission.
An April report by the Partnership for Public Service said the federal government is poorly positioned to recruit cyber personnel and has a weak pipeline of talent. We believe that locating a cyber squadron at JBLE would mitigate a number of the factors that contribute to the workforce problem. Virginia is home to seven higher-education institutions recognized by NSA as Centers of Academic Excellence, and JBLE is within a four-hour drive of ten such institutions. Additionally, Virginia and Hampton Roads are home to the top defense and technology companies in the country – many of which are already supporting the cyber mission for national security.
As we stated in our December 2014 letter to you, we believe Hampton Roads provides a compelling combination of affordability, high-quality public education, and quality of service for the airmen and civilians who will execute the cyber mission. JBLE has a highly skilled workforce, existing training and security infrastructure to support the COS. We continue to believe cybersecurity is a key national security concern and would be proud to host the COS in Virginia.
We thank you for your consideration as you work to reach your decision this summer.